One of the first projects reported to be in development for Disney+ was an animated series featuring”Oswald: The Lucky Rabbit”, who was one of Walt Disney’s original creations before Mickey Mouse, but due to legal reasons, Walt Disney never owned the character, and it took 80 years until Disney’s CEO Bob Iger was able to gain ownership of the character following a deal with Universal to swap the character for ABC/ESPN sportscaster Al Michaels, who would move to NBC Sports.
Disney has used “Oswald” in several projects since they acquired the rights to the character, including appearances in the “Get A Horse” short (which is available on Disney+) and the Epic Mickey 2 video game, plus merchandise throughout the Disney theme parks.
The animated series had been in development for years, with the team behind “The Legend of the Three Caballeros” behind it, which also went through some release issues. “The Legend of the Three Caballeros” had initially been released exclusively in the Philippines on the DisneyLife app, before eventually being released on Disney+ for the streaming services launch in late 2019. This was because the series was created by Disney Interactive, which was ultimately shut down following Disney’s decision to step out of video game production.
It’s been a long time since we’ve had an update on this Disney+ series. Over Christmas, Matt Danner, who has worked on many Disney shows, including “The Muppet Babies” and directed “Legend of the Three Caballeros”, took to social media to confirm the series is no longer in development.
Iger was very serious about it. The Legend of the Three Caballeros team was going to follow up with an Oswald show for steaming. Scripts written, designs done, animation test in hand, and a pilot in production. It was beautiful! Then we got broken up and scattered to the wind.
Hey gang! Don’t be sad about this. Oswald has A LOT of love within Disney. I just wanted to share how serious that love is. I’m sure there will be an Oswald project coming your way in the near future.
While it’s not great to hear that this series was cancelled, it’s good that we finally have an update on the project. Hopefully, Disney is working on another project featuring the character. However, there might be some issues with Disney using the character, since the character may soon become public domain, if Disney isn’t able to change the current US rule, which means 95 years after the publication date. Some of the early Oswald shorts have already gone into the public domain. So this could be one of the reasons why Disney might want to invest in other new projects that they can use for years to come.
What do you think of Disney cancelling the “Oswald: The Lucky Rabbit” series?